The 24 Best John Lennon Quotes

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

When it comes to big, philosophical thinkers in the history of music, John Lennon’s name is certainly at or near the top of the list.

The former Beatle frontman was known as much for his heady ideas as he was for his growling rock ‘n’ roll voice and for his role in writing some of the most acclaimed songs of all time.

But while we know many of Lennon’s lyrics, some of us may not know what he had to say about life, love, war, and any number of other topics, from the craft of music to being in a band with pals.

That, of course, is the subject of this inquiry. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the best 24 John Lennon quotes.

1. “Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I’m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That’s what’s insane about it.”

2. “We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.”

3. “As usual, there is a great woman behind every idiot.”

4. “Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.”

5. “Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted.”

6. “I believe time wounds all heels.”

7. “If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.”

8. “Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue with that; I’m right and I will be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now; I don’t know which will go first—rock and roll or Christianity.”

9. “I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It’s just that the translations have gone wrong.”

10. “You either get tired fighting for peace, or you die.”

11. “When you’re drowning, you don’t say ‘I would be incredibly pleased if someone would have the foresight to notice me drowning and come and help me,’ you just scream.”

12. “I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now?”

13. “My role in society, or any artist’s or poet’s role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all.”

14. “You don’t need anybody to tell you who you are or what you are. You are what you are!”

15. “If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry’.”

16. “Will the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands? And the rest of you, if you’ll just rattle your jewelry.”

17. “I’m not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything. I’ve always been a freak. So I’ve been a freak all my life and I have to live with that, you know. I’m one of those people.”

18. “I’m not claiming divinity. I’ve never claimed purity of soul. I’ve never claimed to have the answers to life. I only put out songs and answer questions as honestly as I can… But I still believe in peace, love, and understanding.”

19. “Part of me suspects that I’m a loser, and the other part of me thinks I’m God Almighty.”

20. “Surrealism had a great effect on me because then I realized that the imagery in my mind wasn’t insanity. Surrealism to me is reality.”

21. “You have to be a bastard to make it, and that’s a fact. And the Beatles are the biggest bastards on earth.”

22. “Possession isn’t nine-tenths of the law. It’s nine-tenths of the problem.”

23. “The basic thing nobody asks is why do people take drugs of any sort? Why do we have these accessories to normal living to live? I mean, is there something wrong with society that’s making us so pressurized, that we cannot live without guarding ourselves against it?”

24. “These critics with the illusions they’ve created about artists – it’s like idol worship. They only like people when they’re on their way up… I cannot be on the way up again.”

Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images

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